Italy from 1713 to 1789 Part II

By | February 20, 2022

The power of Austria was still shaken a few years later, when, on the death of Emperor Charles VI (1740), the war for the succession of Maria Theresa broke out. But her Italian positions were saved by the alliance with England and Piedmont. The English fleet in the seas of Italy brought decisive help: in 1742, with the threat of a bombing in Naples, it prevented Charles from sending an army to help the Franco-Hispanic army fighting in the Po valley; in 1743, from Menorca the English fleet cut off the Spanish squad, which was transporting an army to Italy, and forced it to take refuge in the port of Toulon; finally, in 1746, she blocked, albeit with less luck, the port of Genoa, which had risen against the Austrians. The war was very hard for Piedmont, which nevertheless supported it vigorously. In 1742, Carlo Emanuele III pushed towards Emilia and occupied Modena, but was forced to turn back to oppose the French invasion of Savoy. The following year, he returned to Emilia, and in Campo Santo sul Panaro he fought the Franco-Hispanics, but was unable to fully win them. His military action on that front was hampered by new invasion threats from the French. Who actually, in 1744, entered Piedmont through the Stura Valley, but stopped in Cuneo, which heroically resisted (1745). The military situation was extremely difficult for Carlo Emanuele III, and in time an imperial army under the command of General Botta Adorno came to his aid. Genoa, which had been a base of French operations, was occupied by the Austrians. At the bullying carried out by these in Genoa, the people rise up. The spontaneous and violent release of the common youth (Balilla) who throws a stone at the Austrian, well personifies the pride of that people against the foreign arrogance and the fearful conduct of the rulers. The insurgents drove out the Austrians after five days of struggle (5-10 December 1746). In 1747, France prepared a fourth expedition, this time through Montgenèvre for the Val di Susa. Fifty battalions at Assietta were arrested and defeated by ten Piedmontese and four Austrians (19 July 1747). The victory of Assietta hastened the peace negotiations, which were signed in Aachen in 1748. For it, in Italy, the following changes took place: Austria ceded the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza to Don Filippo di Borbone-Farnese, ceded to the king of Sardinia the territory up to the right bank of Ticino,

The Treaty of Aachen ensured peace for the Italian states for almost half a century, but not for all of Italy: Corsica then bled for long and bitter struggles for its independence. The Corsican question was of capital importance for France at that time in its Mediterranean policy. In 1756, France with a daring blow had snatched Minorca from the English, and had landed an army in Corsica in aid of the perilous Genoese dominion, obtaining the right to dispose of the Corsican ports in the war that was then fought against the English. Thus Minorca, Toulon and Corsica constituted a formidable French strategic triangle in the Mediterranean which devalued English Gibraltar. In the peace treaty followed with England in 1763, France was forced to return Menorca, but did not forget Corsica. In 1768, Genoa negotiated the cession of Corsica to France in Compiègne. The Corsicans did not negotiate; they resisted magnificently, led by Pasquale Paoli. But in May 1769, in Pontenuovo, they were defeated, and Corsica became French dominion. However, the Savoyards made the position of France in the Tyrrhenian less formidable, occupying the Maddalena in time (1757), of which Nelson, a few years later, had to emphasize all the strategic importance.

According to travelationary, the Italy of the eighteenth century, considering the internal conditions of the individual states, did not proceed in its development in a uniform way: some of the states are in decline, such as the republic of Venice, the republic of Genoa and the Papal State; others are renewed with the new dynasties of the Habsburg-Lorraine and the Bourbon-Farnese; the kingdom of Sardinia, in full development with Vittorio Amedeo II and with Carlo Emanuele III, slows down its progress with Vittorio Amedeo III. In any case, Italians participate in that movement of thought and works that characterized eighteenth-century Europe. Movement of educated classes, often in solidarity with the principles in the reform effort. It was thus possible to resume the ancient work of affirmation of the state in front of every privileged body and every privilege and give new impetus to the economic development of the country, in response to the needs of both the prince and the productive classes. The almost half-century peace enjoyed after 1748 favored this reforming industriousness in Italy, particularly notable in Tuscany, Lombardy, Parma, but extended, more or less, to a large part of the peninsula. Along with practical activity, the intellectual movement that enlightened and guided her was intense. Culture was renewed under the pressure of new demands and also due to the influence of European culture, while remaining faithful to certain Italian spiritual traditions. In the first half of the eighteenth century it turned especially to the problems of economic science, and fought prejudices, advocated the freedom of trade and industry and the abolition of dead manners in landed property; in the second half of the century that movement of thought undermined the foundations of old judicial systems, demolishing the barbaric remains of criminal justice. And then the voice of national conscience and civil conscience resounded higher with Giuseppe Parini and Vittorio Alfieri. In 1777 Alfieri published the Philip , and the following year the  Treaty of tyranny  and the three books on the  Prince . These are the first dawns of the national Risorgimento. They illuminate the country even before the Bonaparte descends in Italy. The generation that intellectually formed in Naples in the mid-eighteenth century at the school of Antonio Genovesi was that of the first martyrs of the Risorgimento in the Parthenopea; thought becomes action for them.

And there is something in the Italian renewal of the eighteenth century, not as striking as the political fact, nor as spiritual as the culture, but no less effective, and it is the return of the Italians to love for the work of the land. The need to produce accelerates the solution of the crisis, which towards the end of the seventeenth century is resolved in a resumption of activity on earth, and which determines hostility against the ecclesiastical mortal man, and opens its first breaches. In two regions the signs of this agrarian renewal, which is a civil resurgence, can be seen in the Po valley and in Tuscany.

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